Exploring paleontology through art

Leaping Laepars, painting by Charles Knight (1897)

Leaping Laelaps by C.R. Knight (1897)

Professor Mark McMenamin of the Geology & Geography Department developed a First-Year Seminar, Art in Paleontology (FYS110-GY), for fall 2017 exploring the evolution of paleoart and how art can lead and/or aid scientific discovery. The seminar students collaboratively developed a proposed exhibit of paleoart for the Mount Holyoke College Art Museum. Each student also prepared an individual research paper or a paleoart piece, in any medium, as their final project for the course. Seven illustrations by students from this seminar were recently published in Professor McMenamin’s latest book, Deep Time Analysis, which is available in the college library.

Mary Glackin, the Library, Information & Technology (LITS) Liaison to Geology & Geography, collaborated with Professor McMenamin to identify available resources and add monographs to the library collection to support this new course. A research guide was developed for the students highlighting some of the resources that might be most useful for their class research and project development. Through a specifically tailored library instruction session, students learned strategies for finding resources and images via careful keyword searching of targeted library databases and filtering results to better match their goals. Students explored resources and tactics for locating artworks and digital images for inclusion in their exhibit, including strategies for identifying the current locations and/or owners of specific pieces, and finding the necessary provenance information and formats for building a catalog of the pieces they selected. Students were encouraged to make individual appointments with their liaison to further develop their research on their individual topic.

Have a new course, course idea, or existing course that you would like to expand or revise? Your LITS Liaison would welcome the opportunity to collaborate with you in developing materials and instruction to fit the unique needs of your course(s).